Page 35 [Beltane] “is a celebration on the union of soil, water, sun and seed. It is about fertilizing the fields.” Sisters of the Dark Moon by Gail Wood
Growing up on a farm, May was about picking rocks, working long long hours, and falling into bed exhausted. You would think no longer being on a farm, this time would not be missed but I do miss it. We would walk the land, barefoot, picking up rocks and being who we are picking out the best to bring home rather than just dumping them in the rock piles. It was all about the land and preparing for the next crop. There was a sense of urgency and hope. We needed the crops to feed our animals. Our animals kept us in milk, beef, and pork. There was also our own garden which had be put in, tended, and nurtured as the summer came on.
Virtues of the Goddess is a series on the eight virtues mentioned in the Charge of the Goddess and their relationship to the sabbats of the Wheel of the Year. This is Part 4: Mirth.
Mirth seems to explode around us as we approach the season of Beltane. Nature seems to be slipping on her best dress and looking for a good time. The flowers burst open with their colorful and aromatic call to be pollinated, and here in southern California, the eye-popping purple blooms of the normally unremarkable jacaranda tree light up our sunny days. The birds sing beautiful songs and flutter about in elaborate dances to win a chance for love. Thrilled with the longer, warmer days, humanity also begins to migrate from indoors to outdoors as we wear more revealing clothing or head to the gym in our quest for that perfect summer beach body. After all that darkness, we’re all looking for a little fun right now.
In the line of work that I do, I have many opportunities to attend trade shows and fairs, setting up my business information and a small array of books and such for purchase. Many times, given the titles of books on display and perhaps my brochure outlining services and modalities I provide, I have found myself facing the question “Are you New Age?” Though some of what I do and what I offer does touch on aspects that are considered New Age, it is not a tag I have felt resonated with either my personal path or work. But the question has often caused me pause. Stymied on how to respond, I have pondered: What is New Age exactly? What constitutes New Age practices? What is different about what I do? And, if not New Age, then what am I?
If you've ever wondered what it would be like to experience a pagan holiday in a pagan city, well, you don't have to wait until your next incarnation to find out.
Just come to pagan Minneapolis for Bealtaine.
For 42 years, the magic and artistry of Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater has brought the joy of May to Witch City. 50,000 people line Bloomington Avenue for the Parade and then follow it, dancing, in unbridled celebration of the Coming of the Sun and the melting of Winter's icy heart.
In Powderhorn Park, we call the Sun, which sails to us across the lake in its winged boat. By its power, the Tree of Life rises renewed, and the city-wide party begins.
Bealtaine's coming up, and with it the annual problem: how do we decide who to sacrifice this year?
Well, I don't know how they go about it where you live, but one tried-and-true method is the Bealtaine Bannock.
You cook a barley-cake over an open fire and break it up into pieces. One piece you mark black with charcoal from the fire. Then everyone draws a piece and eats it. Whoever gets the black piece wins. Or loses. Whatever.
It's a old method of Choosing. The stomachs of several bog bodies have been found to contain remnants of charred bannock. Hey, if it was good enough for Lindow Man, it's good enough for me.
Halloween is tricky business in Australia. For those who wish to indulge in the treat of dressing up, eating lollies (the more common term for 'candy') and celebrating all things spooky, there are a few barriers to hammer against. Luckily for those who have gazed at the event with envy overseas, those barriers are slowly crumbling and Halloween has made its presence felt down under.